Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Measles virus and Paget's Disease of Bone

There's been a lot of news about MEASLES recently!

A group of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that measles virus has a "key role" in triggering Paget's disease of bone. There has been speculation in the past about how childhood infection with measles virus can cause an environmental trigger in developing Paget's disease. Their research now provides further evidence supporting this speculation. 70% of patients with this disease had the measles virus present in the osteoclasts. And when they used animal models and made osteoclasts to express the measles protein, bone lesions similar to that of Paget's appeared.

Paget's disease causes your bones to become larger but also fragile, leading to increased probability of fracture, as well as rthritis, hearing loss, and kidney stones.

Of the 12 patients with Paget's Disease, 8 expressed the measlesvirus nucleocapsid protein (MVNP) and 4 did not. These 8 patients expressed protein in affected and unaffected bone and in test tube experiments, they had typical Paget's Disease affected osteoclasts. However the 4 who did not express MVNP had normal osteoclasts based on test tube experiments.

This above experiment indicates that there may be other factors (viruses or genes) that may trigger Paget's Disease, so we can't really confirm that measles really has a significant role in the development of the disease.

It's also interesting to note that the prevalence of the disease has dropped in the past 25 years, which could be due to measles vaccination or other environmental factors influencing the evolution of Paget's Disease.



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